Audi Q8 e-tron vs Q4 e-tron
Small city SUV or refreshed mid-size road ranger?
Picking a car can be a lengthy process. Even when you know what make you want and you’ve chosen the type of engine, deciding on a model can lead to some serious analysis paralysis. There are often multiple choices within the same family. That’s also the case for Audi’s e-tron line of electric vehicles.
Fans of the Ingolstadt-headquartered luxury manufacturer may find it hard to choose between the compact Audi Q4 e-tron and its mid-size sister, the Audi Q8 e-tron. Although the two models share some DNA, they also differ in many ways. Whichever model you pick, you’re guaranteed both an electric engine and the luxury styling the brand is known for. That’s where things get harder – especially since LeasePlan offers both EVs at competitive prices.
So, how do the Q8 and the Q4 e-trons hold up, side by side?
Audi Q8 e-tron
The newest Audi EV is actually the oldest. Confusingly, the new Q8 e-tron was actually first introduced four years ago as the e-tron, Audi’s first luxury electric SUV. But that’s an eternity in tech, and arguably, it’s high time for a facelift. Besides a redesigned grille and Audi’s new logo on the front, the new Q8 will feature powerful batteries across all variants when it is delivered in spring 2023.
As with the Q4 e-tron, there are regular and Sportback versions.
- Seats: 5
- Drive: All-wheel drive
- Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 6.0 s
- Top speed: 200 km/h
- Total power: 250 kW (340 PS)
- Total torque: 664 Nm
- WLTP range: 410-491 km
- Battery Capacity (Usability): 95.0 kWh (89.0 kWh)
- Fast-charge time: 30 min (42->332 km)
- Cargo: 569L
Audi Q4 e-tron
As a compact SUV, the Q4 e-tron aims at the heart of the market, as Audi calls it. In other words, (relatively) affordable luxury electric driving. Built on Volkswagen’s modular MEB platform, the Q4 e-tron prioritizes practicality over performance. The five-door EV all-rounder was unveiled in 2021 and is already being delivered to lease customers.
It’s available either as an SUV or as a Sportback, differentiated by exterior shape, lower rooflines and cargo space.
- Seats: 5
- Drive: Rear
- Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 8.5 sec
- Top speed: 160km/h
- Total power: 150 kW (204 PS)
- Total torque: 310 Nm
- WLTP range: 447-521 km
- Battery Capacity (Usability): 82.0 kWh (76.6 kWh)
- Fast-charge time: 33 min (41->324 km)
- Cargo: 520 L (1490 L)
Range, power and performance
Depending on the market, Audi’s Q4 e-tron can be ordered in different configurations from the rear-wheel-drive Audi Q4 e-tron 35, 40 and 45, to the more powerful all-wheel-drive 50 quattro. The entry 35 model runs off a 55kWh battery and a single, rear-mounted 170 PS motor and a WLTP-certified low-test-energy range of 349 km. For the 40 and above, an 82.0 kWh battery is standard, but motor configurations naturally affect performance. The Q4 e-tron 40, for example, will extend to an estimated 521 km on a single engine before it needs a recharge, but it only delivers horsepower of 204 PS and 310 Nm of Torque. The top-end 50 quattro adds an extra motor to the front, serving horsepower of 300 PS and a decent 460 Nm of torque, but its range drops to 498 km.
The 2023 Q8 raises the bar considerably. Again, there are three variants to choose from: the entry-level 50 e-tron, the 55 e-tron and the top-end SQ8 e-tron (more detail here). But battery cell chemistry has been optimized for the reboot, so drivers benefit from excellent range and efficiency across the portfolio, with up to 20% improvements in both capacity and charging. The entry-level Q8 50 e-tron has a low-test-energy WLTP range of 491 km on a 95kWh battery, while the Q8 55 e-tron extends to 582 km on a battery of 114 kWh – a range close to the Polestar 3. Both run off two motors and sprint to 100 km/h in six seconds. The top-end SQ8 uses three asynchronous motors to go from zero to 100 in 4.5 seconds. That’s on 503 PS and a stunning 973 Nm of torque. All manage a top speed of 200 km/h, in part due to the improved aerodynamics.
Design, interiors and tech
Both models are unmistakeably Audi in looks and styling. The Q4 e-tron is naturally sharper with compact lines emphasised by its large, blanked-off grille and slim LED lights on the front and rounded rear. Although its muscular lines belie its power, it will stand out on the parking lot. Inside, the Q4 e-tron is built for comfort (and long commutes). A wheelbase of 2,764 mm gives it plenty of space, which Audi’s designers have had the good sense to leave uncluttered. An augmented reality-enabled windshield headlines the tech, projecting speed, traffic signs and assistance symbols several metres in front of the driver. Combined with a multifunction steering wheel, an 11.6-inch central screen (the largest ever in an Audi) and a new Sonos sound system, there’s enough tech to impress and entertain.
For 2023, Audi has given the Q8 e-tron a makeover that reflects its new place at the top of the Bavarian automaker’s electric range. The new SUV sports Audi’s new closed-rings logo above a redesigned radiator grille, reshaped bumpers and diffuser, and model lettering on the B-pillar. There are around 40 driver-assist features and a quad-zone climate control system. As a cool add-on, an upgrade to the front lights comes with new features, including the ability to orient lights on twisty country roads. Aerodynamics have been considerably beefed up for the 2023 Q8 e-tron, with a new self-sealing system and better spoilers that improve the drag coefficient on both model variants. On the Q8 Sportback coupé, that improvement is greater, from 0.26 to a very good 0.24. With a 2,928mm-wheelbase Q8 couldn’t be upgraded, Audi has nevertheless added new trims and recycled elements on the interior to bring it into line with current trends. Overall, not quite a generational shift but enough new developments to ensure the Q8 e-tron holds its own against the new batch of EVs coming onto the market.
The verdict: Audi Q8 e-tron or Audi Q4 e-tron?
Both the Q4 and the Q8 bring Audi’s formidable legacy and EV leadership to the road, and lease drivers can expect the brand’s signature comfort and sportiness with either choice. For EV drivers, Audi’s new charging service, set to launch in 2023, will offer access to 4,000 charging stations around Europe. Small-car lovers, especially in markets such as the Netherlands and Belgium, will naturally gravitate towards the Audi Q4 e-tron. It’s well suited to city life and will ensure a comfortable commute. But for families and business professionals who want something a bit bigger and more impressive, the top-line Q8 e-tron (complete with new logo) makes a compelling argument for adding a bit of luxury to your everyday life.